5. The Ottendorfer Library (1884)

The Ottendorfer Library in the East Village is a branch of the New York Public Library and was founded in 1884 as New York City’s first free public library. The branch was a gift of Oswald Ottendorfer, the owner of the New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung newspaper. His intention in opening the library was to provide the German community in the area with books to assist in assimilating to American culture. Originally the library shelves held books in English and in German.  The building was deigned by William Schickel, an architect from Germany, with neo-Italian Renaissance styles combined with Queen Anne architecture.

Similar to the original intentions of Oswald Ottendorfer, most of the events at the library are centered around learning English for speakers of other languages. Other events include book swaps, and technology classes for teens and adults. The building is located on 135 Second Avenue and is a designated New York City landmark.